I’ve had an active account with CitySearch.com to promote several of my sites for quite some time, and we’ve received a significant amount of targeted, high-converting local traffic over the years. I was quick to embrace local search marketing, as it’s a major factor in how customers find the products and services that we offer.
A few days ago while conducting various local keyword phrase searches on Yahoo, I noticed that businesses that included important keywords in their company name (or at least included them when signing up with CitySearch.com) were doing very well in Yahoo’s SERPs. I’ve never been one to miss a good opportunity for some additional traffic at a fixed cost ($0.75 per click for my category, no bidding), so I created another seperate account with CitySearch.com as a quick experiment.
When signing up, I entered my most important keywords as the company name without overdoing it, since I knew that the company name appears as the title of the business listing pages with CitySearch. CitySearch also includes the city and state that the business is listed under, which for me is Phoenix, Arizona. The business listing page contains a jump link to the site and a short description, which allowed me to include the actual company name to eliminate any confusion. Conversion tracking isn’t currently available from within CitySearch’s interface, but conversions can be tracked with any decent web analytics application.
Within a day of setting up the account, the newly created CitySearch ad page appeared on the first page of Yahoo for just about every keyword phrase targeted, and even ranks in the number one spot for a few. I expected the page to do pretty well since it’s obvious Yahoo is favoring CitySearch heavily in local search results (keyword + city state), but I had no idea that the page would be indexed and ranked in less than 24 hours.
My advice? Find some local keyword phrases (if the monthly search volume justifies the effort and spend, of course) that your website is currently not ranking for and setup your CitySearch account. With click prices soaring to record levels and bidding for the top spot a constant battle, a savvy marketer needs to seize every low-cost traffic opportunity that may present itself. Organic rules, but paid advertising at a fixed cost-per-click within the organic listings is certainly faster in some situations and requires no link building, content creation, or site modification.
Disclaimer: Before signing up with CitySearch, evaluate whether the spend is worth more or less time and effort than just getting your own pages ranked. Also compare CitySearch fixed prices with current click prices in Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing, then decide accordingly. Setup conversion tracking for the traffic received and if the clicks aren’t converting into customers, cancel the ad(s). If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.
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